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PODCAST Tracking Crypto Users: How Tether, Chainalysis, Bitfury, & More Work Directly with the US Govt

TL;DR: Crypto’s Valachi Papers is compelling reading. Forbes’ Michael del Castillo weaves a connection between how private citizens and government work together in supposedly insightful ways to combat crime, beginning with mobster Joseph Valachi in the early 1960s. The modern version is underway, this time with the likes of Tether, Chainalysis, Bitfury, and others creating guides for law enforcement on how to track cryptocurrency users. This episode is available embedded in the article below, and on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicBreakerPocketCastsPodBeanYouTube for Newer EpisodesYouTube Older Episodes, and Overcast

Tracking Crypto Users: How Tether, Chainalysis, Bitfury, & More Work Directly with the US Govt

Veteran journalist Michael del Castillo knows the cryptocurrency space well. As a staff writer at Forbes, del Castillo’s reporting is some of the most interesting longer-form reads around. A recent effort found him documenting his reception of the uber-secret report, Indicators of Suspicion for Virtual Asset Service Providers.

It’s an industry insider’s guide to how crime is committed using cryptocurrency. Compiled via coordination with the likes of Tether, Bitfinex, Binance, Coinbase, Chainalysis, and even a couple of legacy banking institutions, the group’s ad hoc name is Project Participate. It’s the crypto industry’s attempt to get ahead of looming regulations, to in part show the ecosystem can police itself and make traditional financial crimes more difficult.


del Castillo’s insight is many-fold, and he conjures up thoughts of a similar worry by US law enforcement about a growing menace in the late 1950s, early 1960s, the mafia. Organized crime was a supposed real worry, impacting everything from powerful unions to political parties and elections. The Kennedy Justice Department was able to get lower-level mobster Joseph Valachi to turn state’s evidence, spill his guts, giving precise detail about how the various crime families operated, including their organizational structures and various spheres of influence.

Valachi famously was asked to put it all down on paper. His revelations were so explosive that law enforcement worried about such information reaching a mass audience, acting as a kind of how-to manual for criminals. Something like that, albeit not from convicted criminals, is happening in crypto, as companies such as Tether, embroiled in their own battle with the NY AG right now, attempt to curry favor by cooperating with government officials, creating manuals of their own. The implications for cryptocurrency enthusiasts are profound and worth grappling with.



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